Bike donations benefit school children in Africa
"Bicycles for Education" bike drives co-sponsored by Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care and PCC Natural Markets
Seattle, Wash., July 6, 2009 A joint effort of two Western Washington companies, Olympia-based Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care (Alaffia) and Seattle-headquartered PCC Natural Markets (PCC), will help school-age children in Togo, Africa avoid missing school due to a lack of transportation.
For five years “Bicycles for Education,” a program of Alaffia, has organized the collection, transportation and distribution of used bicycles for the benefit of children in Togo, a small country in West Africa. The bicycles collected have been distributed to school-age children providing transportation between their villages and schools as far as nineteen miles away. Alaffia founder, president and Togo native, Olowo-n’djo Tchala, knows first-hand the challenges of overcoming poverty as a child growing up in his homeland.
With the help of volunteers and organizations such as PCC Natural Markets, Tchala arranges local bike collection drives, pays for the crating and shipping of bicycles to Africa, and navigates the considerable red-tape involved in gaining approval from the Togo government to off-load and distribute the bikes to deserving students. Tchala said, “It is my firm belief that the support of our communities here in the Pacific Northwest will help my communities back home lift themselves out of poverty.”
PCC supported Bicycles for Education for the first time in February 2008. A shipment of 1,600 bikes, collected through drives held by PCC and others in Portland, Olympia, Bainbridge Island and Seattle, was sent to Togo in July 2008. For five months the bikes were held back by Togolese authorities, but finally they were released to the joy and gratitude of the children and their families.
Two Bicycles for Education drives will be hosted by PCC in July. Used bikes and bike parts in any condition will be accepted.
“There is nothing better than the feeling of bringing communities together; even with so many miles between us, we stand up and offer aid,” says Angela Baker, PCC’s Community Relations Specialist and organizer of PCC’s bike drives. “It shows compassion with no boundaries.”
More information on the upcoming bike drives can be found on PCC's Community & Store Events page or on Alaffia's Web site. Those that are interested in volunteering can contact Melanny Wells 360-866-0080 ext 201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About PCC Natural Markets: Headquartered in Seattle, WA, PCC Natural Markets is a certified organic retailer, with annual sales of $140 million and an active membership of nearly 45,000. PCC operates nine locations in the Fremont, View Ridge, Greenlake, West Seattle, Seward Park, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond and Edmonds neighborhoods. www.pccnaturalmarkets.com
About Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care: Located in Olympia, Wash., Alaffia produces a line of handcrafted skin care products made from fairly traded shea butter and other ingredients indigenous to Africa. Alaffia and the non-profit organization, Global Alliance for Community Empowerment (GACE), work together to return sale proceeds to projects in Africa that support the sustainability of rural communities. www.alaffia.com www.empowermentalliance.org